For a few weeks now viewers have been able to enjoy the new format of Person Of Interest. With Finch, Reese, Shaw and Root hiding from Samaritan the series has become more dynamic. It reminds me a lot of the first season when Reese was not yet the Superman caricature he became during season 2. This episode entitled ‘Prophets’ sticks to the new format while also forcing Reese to deal with his alternate persona when he is forced to undergo psychiatric evaluation. If that wasn’t enough viewers also see more of how The Machine came to be with flashbacks from 2001 showing how Finch and Nathan Ingram designed it to have ethical values. ‘Prophets’ starts like an ordinary ‘PoI-of-the-week’ with Jason Ritter guest starring as Simon Lee, an election manager for the incumbent Governor. However, the viewer quickly deduces that the election is fought between Samaritan and The Machine, but whose side is winning?
Prophets of the Future…..
As mentioned in the introduction Reese (or Reilly) has to undergo a psych test for the 6 shootings he has been involved in. the latest was when he knee-capped a man who was about to commit suicide. At first he tries to fob Dr Campbell off with a sob story from his previous life at narcotics but she is not fooled. Reese professes the difficulty to being open with Campbell to Finch when he suggests he can’t open up if he has to lie about everything. Seeing Reese cornered like does do away with the Man-in-the-suit/superman image I have of him and makes him a more credible character. Reese’s storyline was pretty much fleshed out during season 1 and 2 through his partnership with Kara Stanton. Since then both Reese and Finch have had to undergo a sort of re-invention to keep them interesting to viewers. For Jim Caviezel’s character Reese this has been more difficult because of Dirty Harry image is also essential to make viewers like him.
Ms Groves, AKA Root, is in similar predicament as Reese. After finishing her latest job for The Machine as the red-head translator to the Secretary General of the UN she is put on the same task as Shaw by tracking Simon Lee. Shaw seems out of her element as soon as she discovers that Samaritan has rigged the election. She tries to help Finch with obtaining facts to blackmail the winning side, a Mrs. Perez. However, Root as to confess to Finch that The Machine can no longer directly talk to her, but does so through indirect methods that leaves her stranded for questions. Finch does discover that Ms. Perez once worked as an escort girl to get through college, but Samaritan has Perez murdered by a blonde assassin. Finch and Root are baffled by the decision but suspect Samaritan is playing a game and is 20 steps ahead of them.
The blonde assassin next receives orders to kill Simon Lee as he is the only remaining person to believe the election was rigged. Shaw, Finch and Root manage to delay the assassin for a while, but Root questions whether The Machine is strong enough to resist Samaritan. Finch shares in her doubt and through a flashback we are show how in 2001 Finch finally picked a variant of The Machine AI that didn’t try to kill him to be free. The only way he managed to accomplish this was to tie it in chains. The brief return of Nathan Ingram in the flashbacks pose an equal amount of questions. We see that Finch wrote The Machine code and that Nathan only supplied the feeds. Some fans has long since wondered what exactly Nathan added tot he project, sadly the flashbacks don’t settle that issue this time either.
Despite the best efforts of Root, Shaw and Finch the blonde assassin finds the hotel where Simon Lee is staying. What ensues is probably one of the most spectacular shootouts in recent TV history. To the tune of Young Men Dead by ‘The Black Angels’ Root and the assassin try to shoot each other through ceiling guided by instruction from The Machine and Samaritan respectively. Root manages to keep the assassin tied up long enough for Simon to escape, but she is in turn severely wounded. Root taunts Samaritan by saying they can’t both be killed which causes Samaritan to order the blonde assassin to go after her. Outside the hotel Shaw knocks Simon unconscious and with the help of Reese carries him away.
The next morning Finch meets Simon Lee at the election office, Simon can’t find the proof it was rigged and Harold suggests that Ms. Perez died of a heart condition due to potassium poisoning. The shootout at the hotel is explained away as Simon Lee is still alive. Slowly Simon Lee turns to believe that nothing happened. Shaw show Finch the hardcopy of the election numbers, proofing they were rigged. She asks what happened to Root, but Finch is evasive, merely suggesting it will be a hard fight. Meanwhile, Reese has to explain the shooting incident when he tried to save Simon Lee. Dr Campbell has been following him and states she thinks he likes to shoot people. Reese finally open up to her, he mentions that ever since the death of Carter he has become high-strung, but his convictions remain the same. If he doesn’t save people, nobody else will.
As the episode ends we are shown how Simon Lee apologizes to friends of how he became obsessed with the rigged election. Finch watches him as Root approaches, her arm is in a sling but otherwise she is unharmed. Root tells how her new identity will protect from police questions. Finch asks her of she is comfortable not knowing the goals of The Machine, she states she is but that The Machine needs Finch because the difference between Samaritan and The Machine is him. The next scene show how John Greer congratulates Perez’s replacement, Nick Dawson and offers him his help thus showing the goal of Samaritan. In total 58 elections were rigged, the blonde assassin congratulates Greer, but questions him about the interference (Finch and the gang). In the last scene Finch walks the streets of New York and looks directly at a camera. I presume he is talking to The Machine and not Samaritan for he asks, ‘We need to talk’.
Every once in a while we an episode of PoI that is just perfect. If you watch them all back to back you will discover they all have something in common. Each have a PoI of the week that needs saving while also progressing the mythology along in a meaningful way. ‘Prophets’ is no different, but it actually is. It does all the things that I mentioned very well but also progresses every character. Despite the limited screen time Jim Caviezel got this week with Reese the sessions he has with Dr. Campbell offer the best hope for further change. Now that Reese has two new women in his life, his new boss and Dr. Campbell you might say he has found a substitute Kara Stanton and Detective Carter. For all characters the situation is becoming the same, they are all walking along a knifes edge.
The storyline of how Samaritan and The Machine are fighting for power really dealt a blow below the belt. Suddenly you can’t help but feel creeped out by the prospect of Artificial Intelligence. Finch has to accept that the has become just a pawn instead of the man behind the curtain, but the last scene of the episode shows that he isn’t going to give up on The Machine just yet. Meanwhile Root and Shaw are dragged deeper into this dark struggle as well and Root hints that not everybody will live to see the end. This could be a hint that the shows creators are not above killing more of our beloved characters. For the song Young Men Dead – The Black Angels go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvKjpGP6P5Y
Score; 9.4 / 10. The best episode of season 4 so far that proofs what this show can accomplish if it really tries.
Thanks for reading my Person of Interest S4Ep5 Prophets Review, please do comment below.